A wacked up view of Holiness.

People can get pretty messed up. Even good people.

The town I live in has had its share of scandals, which are always tragic, and almost always predictable.

Sometimes the fall from Grace plunges the person into a pretty dark place.

When the shocking news is made public, the shared reaction is typically along the lines of, How could this have happened?

It happened for many reason,s of course, but they usually include – though it is rarely named – A WACKED VIEW OF HOLINESS.

What do I mean by a WACKED VIEW OF HOLINESS?

I mean that usually when one of these scandals pop – up the problem can usually be traced directly back to a person’s attitude about their HEART.

The Lord speaks to us a lot in the bible about our HEART.

There is a really good reason for this.

If you believe that the HEART does NOTneed tobe a central focus, because the heart of a Christian is wicked even though Christ came to dwell within then you are heading toward a WACKED VIEW.

So often we make the mistake of believing that holiness is all about behavior. When you neglect the sanctifying of the heart, You are setting yourself up for a major FALL.

Nobody can discipline their self into the holiness we need in this world…

and you sure can’t discipline yourself out of a deep dungeon.

Neglect the Heart and you are toast!

The other thing that can lead to a WACKED VIEW is character issues that pave the way for sin.

I honestly believe that at the heart of every sin ever committed was a seed of selfishness.

We are all prone toward narcissism.

This can lead us into some pretty dark places.

Places filled with pride, self-absorption, money lust, and manipulation.

Whenever you introduce duplicity into your personality, it allows for greater double mindedness to follow.

We mistakenly believe that we are strong enough to compartmentalize our “issues” but they will ALWAYS bleed over into other areas of our life.

Dishonesty with a co-worker will bleed over into dishonesty with your family members.

Feelings of financial entitlement can lead to feelings of sexual entitlement, or possibly lead to theft.

When you lie to yourself and say, “This is not a big deal, I really don’t need to address this issue,” You will soon find yourself justifying the bigger issues that lead to scandal.

How often have you dismissed your HEART?

Are you more worried about keeping up appearances than you are about the state of your heart?

If you are, then you are on thin ice.

You are a prime candidate for duplicity to enter into your heart.

Our sins often have a root in childhood.

Maybe you stole and got away with it.

Or, maybe you saw sexually explicit material at a young age…

Whatever the origin these experience can lead to a rift in the soul, into which darkness loves to rush in.

But if you lie to yourself and believe that the rift does not exist, or that it is small and does not matter…

BEWARE. That is the fertilizer that your seed needs to grow.

Gods main purpose in our life is to make us BOTH whole and holy.

If you choose to view the word “wholeness” as just an intrusion by secular psychology into the Christian life, and are unwilling to admit that you are “Broken” then your fall will be utterly predictable.

You are literally a disaster waiting to happen.

If we are brutally honest…we are all,

DISASTERS WAITING TO HAPPEN.

So what can we do about this?

Is there any hope of us fixing our brokeness?

Can we ever be WHOLE?

or…are we doomed to live a life with a WACKED VIEW?

I don’t want to pretend that our process of transformation is easy, you already know that it is NOT.

But I do believe that we can find the genuine goodness of Jesus in our deep and lasting struggles.

I believe it can happen; I’ve seen it happen in my own life many times.

The scriptures promise that it can happen.

For me remembering that the Lord likes to take the long way around, and rarely ever takes the shortest path helps me to be patient.

Afterall, didn’t the Jews wander for 40 yrs?

By making them struggle with their faith, he created in them a people strong enough to be WHOLE.

In my life, I have waited for over 20 yrs to find a loving partner that I could grow and learn with.

But by making me wait, he has created in me a heart that is ready to be a godly, loving woman.

So, please always keep in mind that WHOLENESS is a process.

A process that God is completely committed to.

It is a process in which we can cooperate,

a process that NEEDS our cooperation.

There really is a way to be good again.

I am going to give three scripture references that have helped me in my pursuit for wholeness.

In (Romans 6: 15-16) Paul asked the question,

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under Grace? Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey – whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness.”

IN (Ephesians 4:26-27) Paul again says,

” In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

The third scripture is found in (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. may your WHOLE spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The one who calls you faithful and he will do it.”

Freedom from brokeness comes only as we bring these unsanctified and unholy places under the rule of our Savior, so that he can possess these very places deeply and truly.

That is why it is so important to go to him as soon as you recognize yourself in the process of mental attitude sins.

Repent, and ask for his holiness to cover your broken places before the rift has time to grow.

Because, from the mental attitudes, sins transform into sins of the tongue or sins of the flesh.

And those are the places where SCANDAL come from.

You must walk through this process in prayer.

There is hope of freedom and WHOLENESS.

We can walk away from a WACKED VIEW and into the truth because of what Christ has done for us.

We have an option!

Wholeness begins when we can be brutally honest with the Lord about our sins during prayer.

This is just a beginning, but it is a very important place to start to receive clarity about holiness,wacked view instead of your current WACKED VIEW.

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Humiliation in small doses can be a good thing

Life, like war, is a series of mistakes; and he is not the best Christian nor the best general who makes the fewest false steps. Poor mediocrity may secure that; but he is the best who wins the most splendid victories by the retrieval of mistakes. Forget mistakes; organize victory out of mistakes.   

Fredrick William Robertson

 

Today I want to talk about HUMILITY.

This word, this topic, this idea keeps coming up in my life in numerous ways.

We are studying this topic in Church right now.

My 10 yr old son is in the stage of life where this is the life lesson he is starting to learn and understand.

I have been challenged by this topic at work.

Even Jeff told a great story the other night illustrating the idea of humility.

Everywhere I turn this word keeps popping up for me.

I want to share the story Jeff told me, (he gave me permission to do so)

His brother works at a place that requires steel toe boots as part of the safety equipment. He arrived at work and realized that he had not grabbed his boots before he ran out the door.

This was a BIG deal, because that simple oversight could cost him his job. So he was very uneasy when the safety officer approached and asked where his boots were. He was honest, and humbly admitted he had forgotten to grab them. Because of his impeccable work ethic, the safety officer choose not to fire him, he instead gave him some “slip on steel toes” which happened to be bright pink, and made him sound like one of the characters from the movie ” Monty Pythons quest for the Holy Grail.” He was clop – clopping his way around the warehouse all day long…humiliated!

But, when he told the story to Jeff, his comment was that, “I will NEVER forget my boots again.”

Lesson Learned!

So you see, a little humiliation goes along way toward creating a humble person.

Now I am not talking about the cruel and abusive type of humiliation. That is wrong and never ever in the history of humanity has it ever made a situation better.

I am talking about the kind of humiliation that Jeff’s brother suffered. The “lesson learned” kind of humiliation.

As humans, we have very fragile egos, that do not like to feel shame, guilt, or…humiliation.

We will go to great lengths to avoid ever feeling like we are “LESS THAN” We will avoid situations that have caused us pain like we would avoid the plague.

So, today I want to encourage everyone to consider this statement for a while. Allow it to ruminate in your mind and see what insights you come up with from your own life.
How has humiliation been a gift that has led you to a higher state of humility in your life?

How has it served to strengthen your personality?

A humble heart is NOT an easy thing to achieve.

It is probably the single most difficult thing we will ever seek after in this life time. But it the only way we can truly be free in life.

If we are walking around looking for a reason to be offended…I promise you will find it.

If you are looking for proof that you are a victim…you will find that too.

Life really is what we make of it.

Lets consider for just a moment the one perfect example of HUMILITY that we have all had the chance to meet. Jesus.

Nobody was ever humiliated to the extent that he was.

Nobody was ever as innocent of the crimes for which they were accused as he was.

Nobody ever had the RIGHT to be angry and upset like he did.

But how did he react to all of the humiliation, betrayal, and abuse that he suffered.

He reacted to it all with HUMILITY!

He extended the hand of forgiveness to his enemies. He suffered, bled and died to save his enemies from Hell.

WOW! Just thinking about his life brings me to my knees. His example makes me WANT to learn humility myself.

Humility means that we have a correct assessment of ourself. We don’t exaggerate our importance or value to the world.

I want to combine two words that I think puts this whole concept into perspective. They are…

CONFIDENT  HUMILITY.

What that means to me is this…

It is not only acceptable to walk with your head held high, and feel confident in your talents, and abilities, but it glorifies God when we do this.

He created us to be unlike anyone else.

We are unique.

An original.

There are not two Melanie’s ever created, there is just one… and it is good that I feel proud of that fact.

So to be confidently humble means that we acknowledge our uniqueness, but we don’t puff ourselves up with pride over our achievements…or on the flip side, feel that we are so important that when someone offends us, they did so because they were plotting to take us out.

Humility is the ability to accept the fact that we are just not that important to the world.

A confidently humble person can easily and quickly offer an apology when they have hurt or offended someone. Forgiveness is also not difficult for a humble person.

I am on a quest to learn and understand humility and would love to hear stories, or favorite scripture references that would help me better understand humility.

Please leave a comment on the blog if you have something to share that will help us all better understand this personality trait we call humility.

 

 

 

Henry-Ford-Mistakes

Conspire to Inspire…

Today I faced a situation head on that has been on my mind for over a year now.

I have been ruminating about this situation for so long that it has started to become a nuisance in my life. I have started to second guess every thing I do and say because of this one situation.

It has been growing a life of its own, and it was time to end it’s life before it got any stronger.

So, my sweet and supportive Jeff has had to listen to me ruminate over this issue time and again.

My dear friend and business partner Brenda has also been right there offering her shoulder any time I needed one. Praying with me when I feel like I am going to lose my mind. Just being a rock for me.

They have both just patiently listened to what I was saying.

They would tell me what they would do if they were in a similar situation…

BUT

They never once tried to interfere or FIX it for me.

They trusted me to find a solution on my own.

They will never know how much I appreciated that.

By trusting me to handle it myself they communicated to me that they see me as a strong and capable woman.

That inspired me to be the person they were treating me like I was.

So today, I am going to talk about ways that we can all

CONSPIRE to INSPIRE each other.

When you CONSPIRE to INSPIRE, you are doing a lot more than just acting as a cheerleader for your friends, family and loved ones efforts.

Your motivation is to help the people in your life to become all that they can be – NOT what you WANT them to be.

By believing in them, encouraging them, and sticking beside them during the good times AND the bad, you are the INSPIRATION that propels them forward into the life that they have the potential to live. To become the person God created them to be.

By being supportive, you provide a safe haven for them to come to when they need encouragement or ideas to keep moving forward in the direction of their dreams.

Being an inspiration requires you to literally communicate that even when you may not agree or understand certain decisions they are making, that you will give them the benefit of the doubt, whenever possible.

You assume the best.

Rather than criticizing or questioning you seek first to understand and be supportive.

I am blessed to be surrounded by people in my life who are wonderful sources of inspiration to me.

When I have times of doubt, I only need to pick up the phone and I am met on the other end by one of many amazing friends and loved ones.

When we have people in our life that encourage us, no matter how insane, our ideas may seem to follow our dreams, miracles can happen.

Imagine the change in the world if we would all commit to trying to be this kind of friend, lover, daughter, etc to the people in our lives.

Can you just imagine the ripples we could create if we started teaching our loved ones how to treat us this way, by treating them as if they were capable of anything, and trusted and supported them when they had an idea?

Today, I was literally able to face a really big issue head on because I felt that I would be loved and supported no matter what the outcome.

I knew that even if I chose to do nothing at all, I would still be loved and supported in that decision.

For so many years I had to face life alone.

I have not had the advantage of having a good, loyal person to confide in. To bounce my ideas and dreams off of.

I didn’t know how much I had needed that in my life, until AFTER I had it. 

I think we are all like that.

We believe the lie that we are fine living life isolated and alone.

But are we ever really fine when we are alone?

Jeff and I both really enjoy hiking in the mountains around our home. We have both done it ALONE for years. We have both enjoyed our experiences we had while hiking and discovering ancient Indian writing alone

BUT – Now that we have met each other and discovered that we shared this passion, we now hike TOGETHER.

We now discover these writings TOGETHER.

And the joy and satisfaction has been doubled for us both.

WHY?

Simply because we are sharing the experience with each other.

Life becomes beautiful when we are in the frame of mind that encourages us to UPLIFT others. To INSPIRE the people we encounter.

When we are filled with anger, fear, jealousy, or any one of the lower emotions, and you slow down and pay attention, you will realize for yourself, that you are literally shrinking.

Your world shrinks because you have become SELF – CENTERED. You are no longer considering anyones point of view but your own.

Your emotions shrink because you are feeling paranoid, and therefore close yourself off to others.

Your influence shrinks because people naturally tend to avoid negative emotions. We don’t really know what to do when we encounter an angry person. So we generally choose to stay away.

But on the flip side…

When you can be brutally honest and accept the truth that everyone is struggling with something, and you choose to be compassionate based on that truth, your world EXPLODES!

People are drawn to you because you have a compassionate nature that makes them feel nurtured and cared for.

Your face is lit up with a soft smile that attracts people the same way anger repels them.

You are revered and respected which allows you to interact with the world in a confident way.

You just feel safe.

There is the old saying that is one of the best, and most accurate saying of all time.

“The successful person is the one who lifts others up knowing that by doing so, they too will be uplifted.”

I would like to encourage each and every one of you to take time today and reflect on where your heart is in relation to this topic.

Are you conspiring to inspire?

OR…

is your anger deceiving you into thinking that you have got to protect “NUMBER ONE” and if that means you have to step on a few toes…so be it?

This really is an important point to ponder because the ramifications of your actions can either lift your life up to places you can not even imagine..

Or

Your actions can be the force that brings destruction and chaos into your life.

The choice REALLY is up to you.

Take time today to do a HEART check, and honestly find out where you are at.

Are you holding on to resentment,

or can you allow forgiveness to enter into your heart.

Can you bring yourself to CONSPIRE to INSPIRE your enemies?

Anyone can love a friend…but only a truly mature person can also extend that love to a stranger…or even harder still; your enemies.

If you want to feel Gods blessing in your life, this is a really great place to start.

Because like the Apostle Paul taught in,1 Corinthians 13:2

2: And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

 

Lets be the beginnininspiration blogg of a BRAVE NEW WORLD..

Lets all conspire to inspire.

You have a CHOICE

I had the most amazing weekend. My heart is so full this morning that I am afraid it will literally burst with joy.

Because of the power of my feelings right now, I spent a little time last night and this morning reflecting on the ways in which I react to life.

Both during times of joy and abundance…

as well as during times of stress and hardship.

When I got really quiet and asked my daily question, ” What do you want me to know today?” 

Almost immediately the scripture from (John 14:27) came to mind. “Do not let your HEARTS be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Now to really understand the power of this particular verse we need to remember when Jesus spoke this to his disciples. He is desperately trying to prepare them for his upcoming crucifixion. They still don’t believe he’s leaving them.

When this verse came to mind this morning, my immediate  thought was….WAIT- Do not LET your heart be troubled?

We have a choice?

We actually LET our hearts be troubled?

I have always thought it was the other way around – that trouble strikes in some form or other, and our hearts simply respond by being troubled.

I’ll bet this is how you look at it too!

Trouble descends on you: your house is robbed, or your child becomes pregnant, you lose a job, whatever…and you REACT!

In that moment are you thinking, ” This doesn’t have to take me out. I’m not going to let my heart be troubled?”

NO WAY!

We grow up believing that a troubled heart is just part of life, an unavoidable consequence, appropriate even.

But Jesus is calmly sitting there talking to his closest friends about his coming torture, his death, and following that his departure from them.

On a scale of personal crisis…THIS IS A TEN!

Yet he says, don’t let your hearts be troubled.

Friends, this is really important to try to comprehend.

He is telling them, and us, that we have a CHOICE in what our hearts give way to.

How much truer this is when it comes to choosing goodness.

Have you ever stopped to consider the ramifications of this truth?

We can choose how our heart responds to life!

That is a huge piece of the puzzle we call CONTENTMENT.

After I sat and pondered this scripture for a few minutes, I began to wonder if there were other scriptures that said something similar about choosing our emotions.

I found a few more.

(Proverbs 24:17) Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice.

And I thought, DANG – I love to rejoice. I don’t get to indulge this habit any more? apparently, I can choose not to be such a mean-spirited creep when my enemy fails.

(Psalm 62:10) Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

It is my default nature when I get a raise, or a sudden windfall, to say to myself, now I will be Okay…But that is placing my hope in myself and not in the Lord, and that is wrong.

There were several others I found, but I think we are starting to get the point. The Lord is VERY clear that we can control our emotions.

How many times have you bought into the lie that “troubled heart” equals natural and human response to my world?

apparently NOT.

We actually have a say in worry, fear, anxiety, and all their cousins.

This is HUGE because these things almost always lead to some kind of false comforter/addiction/unbelief/medication/scrambling.

In (Hebrews 4:7) we are told, ” Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. 

I don’t know about you, but there is a BIG part of me right now that is not liking this truth very much. I am not sure how I feel about having to shepherd my own heart.

In so many ways it seems easier to just allow myself to REACT to life.

But the point I think needs to be made here is this: God says we have a choice.

The big lie of sin is that it is inevitable.

This feels so true most of the time especially when we are angry at some perceived injustice that has been done to us.

Or when we suffer a loss, and feel like it was so unfair; we immediatly start looking for a scapegoat to blame it on.

But here is the really good news about us having a choice in all of these emotions and our own sinful nature; when the feelings of anxiety/rage/envy/deceitfulness/etc. come rushing in, and feels as if it is going to have its way with your heart…that is when you can choose to stop it dead in its tracks.

We DO have an option.

We can choose our feelings because of all the work Christ has done FOR us and WITHIN us.

What I loved the most about reading these passages was realizing that I DO have a choice about what I let in…

and what I choose to keep out.

What I am willing to “GO WITH” …

and what I don’t want to “GO WITH”.

The new model of righteousness that Jesus taught us is one that flows from the inside out – from the Heart.

Rather than focusing on technical rule- keeping did I give 10% this month, stop at yellow lights, return that pencil to work?-  Jesus was more concerned that we were shepherding our hearts throughout the day.

What if a person at work gets fired and something in you rejoices. You realize that in fact a part of you hated them?

Should you feel guilty, and berate yourself?

OR…Do you have a different choice you can make?

According to the scriptures we should STOP the instant we recognize a sinful thought and immediately ask forgiveness and pray to be filled with His Holiness.

We simply need to say, ” Oh Father, forgive me. I renounce this hatred. Give me your holiness here, right here, toward this person.”

This same principle works with food cravings/ lies/gossiping/any sinful thought or action can be immediately stopped in the moment it rears its ugly head by calling on the One who took your sins upon Himself.

He paid the price for our freedom, and it is the best and most respectful thing we can do to honor Him when we take advantage of His gift.

So today, spend some time alone in quiet meditation and consider this truth-

The direction of your heart is NOT inevitable.

This is an absolutely wonderful thing.

YOU HAVE A SAY IN IT!goodness blog

everyones battleImagine walking into a room filled with people. You search the crowd, desperately looking for a familiar face among all the strange ones. You spot your very best friend across the room. This person knows and loves you for who you are. Knowing they are there fills you with an instant sense of comfort and security.

Isn’t it great to have such a remarkable friendship?

I have a few of these special kind of friends in my life. They give my life purpose and meaning.

They offer me security and encouragement when I feel like the world is out to get me. They assure me that I am not now, nor will I ever be left alone to fight any battle.

I also have another amazing friend that singled out mankind from all the rest of his creations so that we could truly KNOW him. He is a friend to us all. He has asked us to show the same kind of kindness to kindness of strangerseach other that he has shown to us.

He gave us families and parents to teach us about his unconditional love for us.

He gave us friends to show us his willingness to accept us, weakness and all.

He gave us dominion over all living things so that we could try to understand the responsibility he has for us.

He created for us a world so beautiful and majestic so that every person alive would know for certainty that there is a God of creation.

In (Lam. 3:22-23) he gives us hope and assurance in the dark times by reminding us that just as the sun comes up, so His mercies are new every morning.

This brings me to a point that I like to ponder…

Am I as merciful and forgiving of people as he is toward me and my many mistakes?

I was in the supermarket last night getting a few items to get us through the rest of the month.

I came down an isle that was blocked by a young mother and three kids. The oldest one was badgering her mother relentlessly.

I could see the exhaustion and frustration on her face.

I knew, from my own experience that she was going to explode any second.  There were other shoppers also watching this scene play out.

I could see the judgement on their faces.

I had been there myself, not so long ago, with three little kids all begging for things that I could not afford to buy. They were to young to understand this, so the just kept begging, trying to wear me down.

I had lost it myself more than once in the grocery store with my young kids.

Who knows the back story of this young mother?

Whatever it is, certainly no parents in their right mind would cast stones.

I walked past the mom, touched her on the shoulder, made eye contact, and told her…” It really does get easier. Hang in there.”

She smiled and thanked me.

I just felt a strong need to lighten her load in any way I could. She was a total stranger to me, and yet in that instant I felt as if I knew her personally. I just needed her to see a friendly face in a crowd of strangers.

This weekend, I wonder what would happen in our hearts if we all try to act as if.

Treat every person AS IF they are family.

AS IF they are Angels in disguise.

“For as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me.”

Is it possible for you to be a friendly face in a crowd of strangers. The kind of face that gives comfort and security, even if you don’t know them?

We are all fighting a hard battle…Every single one of us.

So lets not make someone elses life any harder than it already is.  Lets offer each other the same Mercy that we beg our Father in Heaven to show us.

I would love th hear stories of how you have extended kindness to a stranger and it has changed your heart.

Please leave a comment for others to read and be lifted up by.

Thank you.

God Bless and have a wonderful weekend!

 

 

5 ways to Become more KISSABLE! ;)

kissable blog

 

I recently came across an interesting article that I had to share with everyone.

The article had lots of those celebrity photos that we all love to look at.

It showed pictures of celebrities with their makeup, hair and clothes all in perfect order for their public appearances…then side by side pictures of them au natural.

Here is a link to the article so that you can go see the pictures for yourself.   http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/09/take-off-your-fake-face/

In the glamor shots they look more glamorous, more “perfect,” more what we expect, but they certainly look (to me at least) more likable, more lovable, and more approachable without makeup.

Go check out the pictures and decide for yourself what you think.

So today I want to talk about attractiveness.

We all define it differently.

For me, if you put me in a dress with high heels, I am going to feel like a FROG!

I will not “BE” attractive no matter how beautifully I am dressed because I will be so uncomfortable and embarrassed that my inner light will not be visible to anyone…

I will not be any more attractive than a mannequin dressed for the Department store window.

The times in my life when I have received the most compliments about my appearance have been the times when I am in my favorite jeans and sweatshirt and I am outdoors enjoying nature.

So that has led me to the theory that when people are drawn to us, it is not necessarily what we are wearing or how perfect our hair and makeup are…

but rather the amount of light shining from within that attracts them to us.

Kinda like a moth to the flame…

So, are there things that we can do to amp up our attraction factor?

I have created a list of five things that I think would make each and every one of us more kissable. 😉

Here’s How:

ONE:   When someone asks you “Hayadoin?” Take a breath before you give the perfunctory answer of … “Fine, thanks!”  

Do you even actually know the answer to the question,

“How **ARE** you doing?”

Are you living your deepest longing?

Is your heart soft and open like a child? 

Or have you been closed down by the excessive need to produce and entertain?

When is the last time you honestly asked YOURSELF that question?           Do you make time for daily practices that make your heart soft and open?

If not…START TODAY.  IMMEDIATLY!

 

TWO:  Even without being asked, a few times a day tell people what it is like to be inside of you in this moment. 

The main point about such unexpected blurting of authenticity is not that it is utilitarian.  While it does help to move the project forward, or help the bottom line, that is not the reason I suggest that you do this.

It serves a different agenda: connection and  honesty.

When I make statements such as, ” Wow I just had a rush of passion run through me for no reason.” It shocks the person next to me enough that I now have their undivided attention, and can now tell them how I feel about them knowing they are hearing every word I say. 

It also demonstrates something very powerful about you…

If you can honestly express your feelings about the small things, you will also be honest about the BIG things.

 And that will create intimacy between you and the other person almost immediatly.

Start being brave enough to shock people out of their daydreams so that they can walk wide awake by your side.

 

THREE Ask powerful questions.

Don’t wait for somebody to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown before you ask, “What’s’ going on with you?”

You can ask that question just because you are curious, not because you are trying to save them from jumping off a cliff.

Let people know you are genuinely interested in what they look like without makeup.

That you want to know them for who they really are, and that they are safe in exposing you to their truth.

Without trust, love is not even possible. 

Show people daily by your willingness to ask them direct and sensitive questions that you really do care, and that they are NOT alone in this world.

Everyone has a strong need and desire to be seen and heard, so be willing to see and hear the people in your life.

 

FOUR Give appreciation, lots of it.

Strangely enough, our personalities are much more attuned to criticism than gratitude.

The automated mind is a machine that tries to fix problems: so it focuses on things that needs to be changed. 

We are all bombarded daily with comments from others telling us what we are doing wrong, or requests to complete some task…

but rarely do we hear words of appreciation, and when we do, they are a song to our soul.

Showing appreciation to your loved ones is the number one way to endear you more to them…it will make you nearly impossible to replace.

Your true heart (under the makeup) delights in people as they are, and it’s a great idea to give the microphone to that smiling heart as often as you can.

 

FIVE: Admit mistakes.

It can be the hardest thing to do, and easily slips into the undesirable territory of compulsive mea culpa.

The essential difference is to remember that you are not a bad person, you are a good person, with great intentions, who sometimes commits small boo-boos.

The more you can accept that with a smile…

the more kissable you will become.

The ultimate sexy person, is someone who is so comfortable in their own skin that they easily invite the world to laugh with them at the little imperfections in their lives.

That level of confidence is INTOXICATING. 

 

So shall we join the dance, you and I? 

Shall we wash away the layers of makeup and join Katy Perry, Beyoncé, Cameron Diaz and Jay Leno, in becoming more kissable?

 I say YES.

Lets put aside our false selves and show the world how fabulous we really are.

kissable

You are RICHER than you realize

I am getting ready to take my kids on a magical vacation to California.

Planning a trip of this size with four kids, takes some planning, both logistically as well as financially.

So, I have been thinking a lot lately about WEALTH.

What is it exactly?

Is it limited to the amount of money we earn, or the size of our home, or is it the cars we drive and the Toys we can afford?

Or…

Is wealth measured by the people in our lives? The experiences we have?

What does it mean to be WEALTHY?

There’s something about living in a civilized, industrialized culture that compromises rational thought. Ancient people didn’t struggle with this nearly as much as we do today.

It’s much easier to keep your priorities in perspective when they revolve around the tangible elements of survival – like your next meal.

The richer we get, however, the more our priorities begin to separate from our actual needs.

When all of our basic requirements are met, our appetites for progress don’t just magically turn off…

We simply turn from the things that we need to the things that we want.

And that’s when we enter into the confusing world of SUBJECTIVITY.

In this reality WANTS are harder to define…and easier to confuse.

Abraham Maslow, the man who introduced the world to the “hierarchy of Needs” explained the subjective nature of wealth by using a pyramid model. In essence he said our needs are always changing  depending on our circumstances.

His model begins at the bottom with what we all consider basic needs of food and shelter, and progresses all the way up to luxuries.

So here is the dilemma that his model presents…

No matter where you are on the model, you are always wanting MORE.

If you are hungry or thirsty…more is simply food and water…

on – and – on  it goes all the way up to a mansion on the hill that is bigger than anyone elses.

So, was Arthur Schopenhauer correct when he made the statement,                ” Wealth is like sea-water;  the more we drink, the thirstier we become?”

Or is there a way to gain some logical perspective on all this WANTING?

Can we ever hope to corral the “monster” we call GREED?

I think we can.

In my own life, I have gone from the very bottom where I was homeless and hungry with four kids to feed, to where I am today, living in a nice home, with a nice car, and security enough to afford a magical trip to California.

Each and every day, I give thanks to the Lord for the logistical blessings He has provided for me and my children. I try always to remember where my wealth REALLY comes from, and never lose that perspective.

I want to give an illustration that will help to better explain my attitude about money and possessions and how I keep from letting them ever control my life.

We can all probably remember a few years ago when the High Museum of art in Atlanta signed an agreement with the Louvre in Paris in which they would allow priceless works of art to come to Atlanta “ON LOAN”. The collection included one-of-a-kind masterpieces from such GREATS as Raphael, Rembrant, and Michelangelo.

According to the agreement EVERYTHING still belonged to the Louvre. It was just being entrusted in the care of the museum curators in Atlanta.

So here’s the question: What percentage of the Art collection did the Louvre expect Atlanta to take care of?

Do you think they would have been content to receive only 10% of their masterpieces back?

Had Atlanta failed to return 100% of the art to the Louvre, major conflict would have ensued. Major world wars have been fought for less than that!

But of course, both parties understood that each and every piece on loan would be taken care of with absolute vigilance…not even a fingerprint would be allowed.

What was the governing principle behind the exchange?

OWNERSHIP!

The Louvre owned it all.

None of it belonged to Atlanta.

They were simply borrowing it for a short time.

That is how I view my “STUFF”.

In my mind, it is all on LOAN from God.

Everything I have really belongs to him.

I am just borrowing it for the time.

By viewing my possessions in this way, I prevent myself from ever getting complacent and greedy.

I know that since it is all on LOAN, He can call on me to repay or return it at any time.

So I have learned to cherish and appreciate every single thing I am blessed with in life.

In (1 Chronicles 29:11) King David says,

” For everything in Heaven and Earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, you are exhaulted as head over all.”

How would changing your attitude and seeing all of your possessions as actually belonging to the Lord change your perspectives on wealth?

Would it alter your WANTS at all?

I know that for me, before I spend my money on anything, I pause for just a minute and decide if this purchase is a responsible way to use the money I have been given.

King David also said in (1 Chronicles 29:12)                                                                    ” Wealth and Honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.”

From David’s perspective, not only did God own all material things, but was also the source of all the things that money cannot buy- like honor, power and strength.

David’s comments are meant to describe everything that we enjoy in life. EVERYTHING!

His comments are practical for every one of us.

If we could turn our hearts to the truth of where our wealth comes from, maybe we could also start to place our hope in the Lord instead of in ourselves.

Placing my Hope in the Lord changed the entire way I viewed money and security.

Before I worried about retirement, healthcare, food storage, etc…I was killing myself to try to acquire all of these things on my own. But since I have learned to place my trust in Him as my provider, I have become more secure and wealthy than I could have ever become on my own.

When Jesus talked about wealth he was VERY CLEAR. He asked the question , “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36)

In essence, he implored people to view wealth through the lens of eternity.

Tha’s how King David viewed it.

That’s  how I have learned to view it.

And that when we can learn to control our APPETITES this way, we lose our grip on wealth…

AND

Wealth losses its grip on us.

We become free to enjoy our lives without the constant nagging fear of losing everything.

We are freed from the shame of not being as wealthy as someone else.

We learn to relax and enjoy life as it currently is, thus freeing up our mind and talents to become bigger and better, and this naturally will attract more wealth into your life…no matter how you define wealth, you will receive more of it.

So lets all move forward from here. Lets not be arrogant if we are wealthy, but money picrather be GRATEFUL!

Don’t lean on your wealth. Lean on the one who gave it to you. That way you will have peace in your heart as well as money in the bank.

My daily declaration is this:

“I will not place my trust in riches, but in him who richly provides.”

So today lets all decide to be wealthy in spirit, and the worldly riches will follow.

 

 

 

14 ways to make everything more simple.

This weekend I went for a hike with my family and my sweetheart Jeff. As we were hiking down this riverbed filled with beauty, Jeff and I were talking about life. He said something very powerful and profound to me that inspired todays blog.

Jeff is a very confident, quiet and dependable man. He is genuinely content with his life, and is therefore a very pleasant person to be around. So when he speaks about life choices, I LISTEN. Afterall, shouldn’t we take advice from someone who is actually living the life you are trying to achieve.

So here is Jeff’s insight that inspired me today.

He said, “Most of the problems people have in life are created by their obsession with pleasing everyone but themselves.”

WOW!

So simple, and yet so very very complicated.

I hope that you will take his statement into your heart today and let it ruminate in your mind like I have.

It will open doors in your mind, that if you are brave enough to walk through, will show you the ways in which you are complicating life in your quest to please people.

I have created a list of 14 things, based on Jeff’s statement that can help us all learn to live life pleasing ourselves at least as much as we try to please everyone else.

 

1. Sure, life can be tough and unfair, but don’t take it all so seriously. Think of life as a big prankster. And learn to laugh at your own expense. Try everyday to find at least 3 things that you do to laugh at. When you start to do this, you will stop being so preoccupied with perfection, and start to be more flexible and fun-loving.

2. Be your own BFF. Treat yourself the way you imagine your best friend would treat you. Especially in things you say to yourself. Before you start yelling at yourself, stop and ask if you would talk this way to your boss. If the answer is NO…then DON’T talk to yourself that way either!

3. Learn to recognize fear (it can be a tricky devil) and nip it in the bud. Monsters, like weeds, are much easier to eradicate when they’re small. Make it a daily practice to remind yourself that you can tackle any problem that arises, be your own super-hero.

4. Believe in choice. It’s always there. And if you feel like you’ve made a bad one, make another one and another one until you get it right. Learn to stop looking for someone to blame your bad choice on. Just learn to accept the responsibility yourself, and kindly reflect on the lesson you learned from that decision. This way, you will decrease the chances of making the same mistake twice. Nobody knows everything all the time. So forgive your errors in judgement quickly!

5. Spend the time to really listen to yourself and realize what your passion is. It may be a traditional profession you can pursue, but it may also be as simple as being a parent, or reading books, or traveling. Whatever it is, if it lights you up inside, find a way to make it your priority. And then stick with it, no matter what. It’s not silly or childish. It’s your calling and you were born to do it. We were not all born to be a super-star. If living a quiet anonymous life makes your soul sing, then enjoy your solitude. 

6. Celebrate all your wins, and losses too. Rejection is hard, but remember – you dared to try. You were brave and jumped in. There’s no failure in that. In my life, it has been my rejections and tragedies that have taught me the most, so learn to celebrate your struggles and failures as the learning tools they are, and you will lose the VICTIM mentality that crushes more lives than any other force of nature.

7. If something bothers you or excites you, speak up. People cannot read your mind, much less your emotions. The very worst thing you can ever hear if you ask is…NO. Stop being afraid to hear that word, and start to ask anyway. Life becomes amazing when you ask others for help and advice.

8. When you’re stuck in traffic or crammed on a crowded subway or miss your train when you’re already late, remember that the other cars, other passengers and the train conductor are not out to get you. It is not about you. They probably don’t even realize you exist. They’re standing there, focusing on themselves and how this particular situation is unfair to them. It will be ok. You’ll get where you need to be in the end. Breathe.

9. Some things don’t change much from when we’re babies. If you’re cranky, you’re probably either tired, or hungry,  So take a nap, grab a bite, or have a seat. Be your own “parent” and try to sooth the child inside the same way you would your actual child. It’s amazing how satisfying it is to know that you can take care of your own needs.

10. Your reality is what you believe it to be. If you think “I can’t, I won’t”, you can’t and you won’t. And if you think “I can, I will”, you can and you will. There really is only one person with the power to RUIN your life, and that person is YOU! So stop limiting yourself because your afraid of what people will think and just face each day KNOWING that you are a WINNER and everyone will either have to agree… or get out of your way. 😉

11. People die, lovers break your heart, and jobs and money disappear. Take the time to be sad, angry, disappointed and scared, but also remember to let it go when it’s run its course. There is no nobility in angst. Only pain. And it only hurts you in the end. In my opinion this is the number one tip to finding joy. Feelings just are, they are NOT right or wrong. Stop judging your feelings and just FEEL them. By doing this, your mind will naturally heal your heart, and you will once again be free to feel JOY.

12. Your ego is like a toddler: sometimes it cries out because something is wrong and sometimes it’s just throwing a tantrum. Learn to recognize the difference to keep it healthy and unspoiled. This is why meditation and prayer are such an important part of my life. It is during these quiet moments of reflection that I am able to distinguish between a need and a want within my ego.

13. Laugh! As much and as often as possible. Find websites that contain funny videos or jokes and have them delivered into your inbox. Rent funny movies. Watch children play. Do whatever you can to laugh as often as possible. Laughter is my drug of choice!

14. Be kind. To yourself and others. Try not to judge too harshly, for we are all seeking the same thing – love and happiness. What we say, look like, or do as we travel on this journey is much less important than the journey itself. We’re all in it together. Seek commonalities rather than differences. You might be surprised to discover there are many more of those around! It is easy to love your friends, but the challenge, and the ultimate reward in life is when you can learn to love those people who are not your friends, like strangers, or those who have offended you. When you can learn to open your heart and allow them the space to be themselves and not judge that, your life will become a beautiful thing indeed.

I hope that today’s blog that Jeff inspired will also inspire you. Life really is simple. We have just been told for so long that it is HARD…and we have bought into that lie ourselves.

Take these 14 ideas and see if they work to make your life a little more simple.

simplify

 

Down hill sking is a sport…not a philosophy.

Trying to meet life with predetermined ideas about how to handle what unfolds before us —

before it does —

is like a downhill skier wanting to know where he will make his turns before he reaches the mountain that he intends to ski down!

Let the JOURNEY be the DESTINATION

Occasionally, for all of us, we accidentally enter into the Now.

We could be skiing, skating, doing yoga, playing golf, and suddenly our activity aligns us with the flow of that moment.

This recently happened to me on my date with Jeff this weekend. We were sitting across from each other eating dinner, and I was overwhelmed with a sense of pure contentment. I was 100% present in that moment with him.

That has made me think a lot about this idea.

How beautiful those moments are when we catch ourself enjoying the NOW. When we realize that the journey is the destination.

So, is there a way, a practice that we can do to strengthen our NOW MUSCLES?

I think that there is…

Physically we can be aware of our breath, our body temperature, our voice, etc. These things are clues that we have entered into the Now.

Emotionally we can enter accidentally into the Now when we look out and see the sun breaking through the clouds or we catch the evening light as it shades trees differently. Our emotions are so powerful that they literally render our conscious mind silent for that moment, and we just become part of the beauty that we are beholding.

Intellectually, from time to time, we enter into the Now when we have an insight and an epiphany comes. We’re walking along, and suddenly we have the feeling of understanding that came to us because at that moment everything integrated.

This is how the NOW feels physically, emotionally, and intellectually…

So lets take this knowledge and go out in life and PURPOSEFULLY experience these things.

This Now,

the real Now —

not the intellectual or the imagined one —

is a perfect integration.

It is that moment in time where time almost seems to stand still for you while you engage in your life.

This is where our real power lies.

This is where an artist goes for inspiration.

This is where a musician finds his melody.

This is where a poet finds his rhythm.

At a certain point, if we’ve touched the Now at all —

or it has touched us —

We will begin to CRAVE these experiences, and stop only occasionally experiencing this accidentally.

We want to be able to live in that awareness, know that kind of love, know that kind of insight.

We want to be someone who is in the flow, and because of that is in direct relationship with everything else that is in the flow.

This truth, this flow, is in the present moment.

It is perfect connectivity, right Now.

We don’t know we are in it because the nature we live from is apart from it. This higher awareness is more complete.

It is more compassionate.

It does not have stress and strain in it.

It is a world in which, unseen, we live in; it is our interior world.

It was in that moment over dinner with Jeff that I experienced a new and deeper level of Love for him. I realized in that moment that I really am safe with him, safe enough to lose myself completely in the moments we share together.

This is the place where eternity is formed…The present moment in our minds.

This interior life that we are supposed to have access to and live within is hidden from us because of our human nature.

Our innate need to know where we came from,

and what it is,

what are we intended to do,

how do we go about DOING it.

— at all costs, all the time —

Is the very culprit that is stealing the NOW from our life.

We miss the truth that what we are from moment to moment is what determines our experience of the moment we are in.

When we begin to understand that, the moments themselves become beautiful reflections, expressions of ourselves to ourselves.

We learn to be present to ourselves.

That is what the path is.

We want the path to lead to a proven place.

Each person has different ideas about what the path leads to —

maybe to become enlightened,

or to make a million dollars –

But… that path doesn’t lead to anything because it doesn’t go anywhere.

What is Eternal doesn’t go anywhere — it just is.

Our task is not to go someplace. It is to discover inside of ourselves a new order of being.

Little by little we can recognize that it is possible for us, instead of always trying to confirm ourselves by life —

going through that process where we’re always trying to figure out who we are —

to begin to surrender ourselves to the action of this Light that lives inside of us that by our relationship with it through understanding, we are part of it, and it is Good.

This “Goodness” is the idea of let the journey be the destination.

Then we’re not going anywhere;

we’ve discovered a new being.

The Bible promises us that if we will trust in the Only Begotten Son, we will be reborn. That we will literally become a new creation.

Experiencing the NOW, at the level that I have begun to, can only be possible through faith in his plan for my life.

Before I understood that he really does have a plan for me, I lived my life in constant fear of the future.

From that place of fear, experiencing the NOW is not even possible.

I first had to surrender my future into his loving and capable hands knowing that he will, in fact, work all things together for my good.

 

When you invite this loving spirit into your heart, you invite it into your life. You will begin to become more receptive, to whatever life is showing you in this very moment.

So stop worrying about all the small details of your “SKI TRIP”, and just enjoy the experience of it all.downhill skier blog 1